2024 Suncorp Super Netball Preview

2024 Adelaide Thunderbirds huddle at the Team Girls Cup. Image: May Bailey Clusterpix Photography

Adelaide Thunderbirds have recruited great experience in 2024. Photo by May Bailey/Netball Scoop


Preview by: Ian Harkin



It’s no secret that the Thunderbirds’ strength lies in their defensive power. In 2023, the Thunderbirds averaged 15.8 possession gains per game, more than two gains per game ahead of the next-best defensive team.  

Spearheading the back end since 2019, Jamaican goal keeper Shamera Sterling-Humphrey continually leads the charge in won possession, which ultimately saw her win the SSN Player of the Year accolade for 2023. Sterling-Humphrey is an imposing threat in her own right, but the combination and support from fellow Sunshine Girl Latanya Wilson and Diamond Matilda Garrett make this defence unit intimidating for opponents and enthralling for fans. Goal defence Garrett had her best season to date in 2023, while the versatile Wilson starred at both goal defence and wing defence, where she shut out big-name wing attacks. The recent Team Girls Cup just demonstrated once again how strong this trio is.

The defensive work isn’t limited to the back three either, with Tayla Williams and captain Hannah Petty also responsible for winning possession at crucial times, meaning coach Tania Obst will be spoilt for court-wide, defensive choice. 



For several seasons, the Thunderbirds suffered from a recurring problem that prevented them from becoming a force in the competition. While they could win possession on the defensive end, they couldn’t consistently convert it into goals in attack. Turnovers frequently cruelled their chances and left them languishing at or near the bottom of the ladder.

That changed last season with the arrival of England’s Eleanor Cardwell. Along with fellow shooters Tippah Dwan and Lucy Austin, she was able to reward teammates’ work more often and put winning scores on the board, culminating in the thrilling grand final victory where Cardwell was named MVP. But now both Cardwell and Dwan have signed elsewhere in 2024. The loss of Cardwell will be particularly hard to cover, as she can play different roles.

Another big loss is Tracey Neville. As assistant coach in 2023, the former Roses coach was an important part of helping the Thunderbirds to their first title in 10 years.


Romelda Aiken-George lines up in Thunderbirds' pink in 2024. Image: May Bailey Clusterpix Photography

Romelda Aiken-George will line up in Thunderbird pink in 2024. Image: by May Bailey/Netball Scoop)


X Factor

The new off-season signings have unearthed a real opportunity in attack. Romelda Aiken-George is a very different player from Cardwell, but she has vast experience, while youngster Lauren Frew showed at the TGC that she can play the goal attack role well. They will combine with Lucy Austin, who has grown in confidence after a full season and a starring role at last year’s Fast5 Netball World Series.

The signing of the experienced Laura Scherian was an added bonus for the midcourt and gives Tania Obst the chance to move Georgie Horjus into the circle more regularly. Horjus has the ability to easily swing and excel at both wing attack and goal attack. That could be the tactical move that keeps Thunderbirds ahead of the pack in 2024.



2024 New South Wales Swifts. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

2024 New South Wales Swifts. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


Preview by: Kate Cornish



Off the back of their Team Girls Cup win, the NSW Swifts have sent a clear message to the rest of the Super Netball teams – they are the squad to beat in 2024. Grand finalists in 2023, falling just short with a heartbreaking one-goal loss to the Adelaide Thunderbirds, the Swifts look to have maintained the form that has seen them become one of the most consistent and formidable opponents over the past few years. 

The Swifts have retained a virtually undisrupted lineup compared to other teams in the competition, with their only significant loss being mid-courter Tayla Fraser. While the speedy and versatile mid-courter will be missed in the lineup for the Swifts; the returning Allie Smith provides flexibility across three defensive positions. 

All ten members are familiar with each other’s play, with some combinations boasting an impressive seven seasons of experience together. This level of cohesion and understanding is a rare luxury in the league, giving the Swifts a significant advantage. This includes the lethal partnerships between co-captains Maddy Proud and Pagie Hadley in the midcourt, Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner in defence, and Helen Housby and Sam Wallace-Joseph in the shooting circle. 


Umpire deny Teigan O-Shannassy a clean intercept at Team Girls Cup. Image: May Bailey | Cluserpix Photography

After may seasons together, have the NSW Swift become predictable? Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography



While the Swifts have few weaknesses, coach Briony Akle may face challenges this season in managing her star-studded roster and player rotations during games. Akle is known for making many changes during matches, but with such a talented group, there is pressure on her to make the right choices at the right time. For instance, getting the balance right with her shooting lineup this season will be critical. Akle needs to integrate Sophie Fawns, Housby, and Wallace-Joseph into the game without losing momentum and solidify their roles within the team. With the return of Wallace-Joseph, Fawns may have to play a different role as an impact player with fewer minutes than last year. As she enters her third year in Super Netball, it will be interesting to see how the young Wagga-Wagga export handles the season. 


X Factor

In hot water for recent comments made on her Instagram account over Easter regarding Transgender Day of Visibility, whether this fan favourite can win back her legion of devout followers remains to be seen. However, Wallace-Joseph could be the missing puzzle piece that the Swifts have searched for during their past two Super Netball campaigns. Sitting out for two consecutive seasons due to an ACL injury in 2022, Wallace-Joseph was in outstanding form at the TGC. 

However, she will need to be carefully reintegrated with two point shot specialist Housby, who fell into more of a feeding role when they last had consistent court time together. Despite Swifts winning the season in 2021, Housby averaged just 14 points per game playing alongside Wallace-Joseph. Compare this to her 2023 season average of 26 points per game without Wallace-Joseph, and it’s clear that Housby’s long range prowess could be more effectively utilised to give Swifts an edge.



2024 West Coast Fever huddle at Team Girls Cup, Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

2024 West Coast Fever huddle at Team Girls Cup, Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


Preview by: Jenny Sinclair



Import Shanice Beckford joins her Jamaican teammate Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard in a well established shooting combination. Beckford provides speed across the transverse line in attack, a good change up from the more measured play of Alice Teague-Neeld. While diminutive at 170cm, Beckford also has strong defensive skills and can generally find an intercept or two per game. Youngster Olivia Wilkinson could be one of the finds of the season. The 190cm Victorian can play both shooting roles, with a surprising turn of speed and agility for such a tall player. While she still has some work to do in pulling in balls under pressure, she’s a silky mover and unafraid to go to the post from distance.

Of Fever’s regular players, new captain Jess Anstiss, plus Teague-Neeld and Fowler-Nembhard provide composure, with the latter’s dominance under the post showing no signs of waning. Kelsey Browne was thrown a lifeline at the 11th hour after Verity Simmons’ shock retirement, and will add midcourt speed and the familiarity of feeding a tall shooter.



With so many fresh faces in their team, losing almost three months worth of preseason may have a heavy impact on Fever. Canny English import Fran Williams is a huge signing for the team, but faces one of the toughest jobs in netball – learning new strategies to defend the supershot. Likewise, Beckford has had little time to adjust to life in Australia, while Olivia Wilkinson, Jordan Cransberg and their 11th player need to adapt to the rigours of Super Netball.

While Fever have some familiar faces studded across the court, and the world’s best shooter at one end, building combinations will take time. This stood out at the recent Team Girls Cup. Fever poured on pressure across the transverse line –  and this is going to have to be where they force errors and win ball – but their defensive pairings lacked some connection. 


How will the new-look attack end fire for the West Coast Fever in 2024? Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

How will the new-look attack end fire for the West Coast Fever in 2024? Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


There will be added pressure on 22 year old Sunday Aryang to lead the brand new defensive circle, to help mitigate the loss of Courtney Bruce’s star power. Verity Simmons will also be a huge loss – in particular her ability to punch forwards into attack, rather than the lateral passes seen too often at TGC. 


X Factor

With so many new faces and the shortened preseason, Fever will face an uphill battle to gel in time to make finals. But don’t underestimate the passion of head coach Dan Ryan, and wiles of assistant coach Sara Francis-Bayman. Both have great tactical nous, and could become one of the iconic coaching duos of the league. 

Fever’s fortunes swung wildly in 2023 – they recorded the league’s biggest ever score (97), but succumbed to 4 one-goal losses in the middle of the season. If they can learn to convert some of the narrow margins to wins, anything is possible this year. 



2024 Melbourne Vixens . Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

2024 Melbourne Vixens are largely unchanged. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


Preview by: Georgia Doyle



The addition of Sophie Garbin to the Vixens’ shooting end could not have been more ideal, as long-term goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda is due to miss the season as she prepares to become a mum. What was going to be a selection headache for coach Simone McKinnis just solved itself, as she has a Diamonds duo ready to go.

Garbin’s combination with Kiera Austin is unquestionable, with the two of them leading the Diamonds to a gold medal at the 2023 Netball World Cup. Garbin has proven she is much more comfortable at goal shooter, and despite this being her seventh year in Super Netball, it will be her first chance for a starting spot in her preferred position. Expect to see her dominate under the post, with her ability to switch between moving and holding complimented by Austin’s speed and accurate feeds. 


Sophie Garbin and Kiera Austin will be a formidable shooting combination for Melbourne Vixens in 2024. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Sophie Garbin and Kiera Austin will be a formidable shooting combination for Melbourne Vixens in 2024. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography



While Simone McKinnis has traditionally been a coach who uses her bench more frugally, there has always been talent and experience to inject into the game when needed. This year, the bench looks a little more depleted than it usually would – with only Rudi Ellis having taken to the Super Netball Court before. Her 31 games of experience doesn’t necessarily amount to lots of minutes as she was traditionally used as an impact player courtesy of her rangy arms and strong hands over pressure. 

Then there are Lily Graham and Zara Walters, aged 18 and 20 respectively, who are expected to fill the holes left behind by Mwai Kumwenda and Liz Watson. The time spent training with and against some of the best will be invaluable, but should they need to step up and play a big role in the season, will they have been pushed into the deep end too early?


X Factor

The departure of Liz Watson has left a significant hole in the mid-court. Enter Hannah Mundy. Last time the Vixens were without Watson, they recorded their worst ever Super Netball finish with only two wins. That was Mundy’s first year in SSN, and while she has seen limited minutes since then, largely due to sitting behind both Watson and captain Kate Moloney, season 2024 hands her the opportunity to stamp her authority on the wing attack position. 

She has a proven connection with Moloney and Austin and showed the beginnings of her combination with Garbin and youngster Walters during the Team Girls Cup. If she is able to handle the pressure of playing week in, week out, a Diamonds call-up may be on the cards as they look to blood some fresh attacking mid-courters. 



2024 Sunshine Coast Lightning at Team Girls Cup. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Will Lightning take the 2024 title? Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


Preview by: Jaimie Keay



When it was announced that Diamonds captain Liz Watson and defender Courtney Bruce were heading to the Lightning, many predicted then and there that the 2024 title would be theirs to lose. There is no denying that on paper, the Lightning appear to have a championship calibre team, with Watson and Bruce joining the formidable shooting duo of Cara Koenen and Steph Fretwell (nee Wood) as well as a couple of young guns in Ava Black and Ash Ervin. 

Bringing in a player like Watson, who finished last season second overall for goal assists to feed Fretwell and Koenan could be the piece of the puzzle that has been missing for the team who last made the post-season in 2021.

Returning from an ACL injury, a key player for the Lightning will be Reilley Batcheldor who will be a handy third-shooting option. Not only can she play both shooting positions, but her long-range shot could be key to her getting plenty of minutes this season. 


Courtney Bruce and Liz Watson will be lining up in Lightning yellow in 2024. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Lightning’s two big name signings, Courtney Bruce and Liz Watson. Image: May Bailey/Netball Scoop



The age-old saying, ‘a team of champions doesn’t always make a champion team’ could come to fruition for the Lightning. We saw at the recent Team Girls Cup that it wasn’t always smooth sailing across the court, and in particular, one of the crucial decisions for coach Belinda Reynolds will be what position she feels will be best for Watson.

Courtney Bruce will undoubtedly get the team plenty of defensive ball, but she was the highest penalised player in the competition last year, with 240 at the end of the regular season, a whopping 62 more than the next highest. Ensuring that she can balance those penalties with the gains she can bring will also be a factor in the Lightning’s success in 2024.


X Factor

The Sunshine Coast team have been well known for their ball speed, but over the last few seasons, it’s been inconsistent. But now with the World Champion backbone and talented speedsters in rookies Batcheldor and Leesa Mi Mi combining with the creative court smarts of Fretwell and Watson, fans should expect that ball to be moving at a blistering and unstoppable pace. 

The word ‘culture’ has been repeatedly mentioned around this Lightning team. In assembling her roster, Reynolds was careful to ensure that the athletes she brought into the fold were going to add to boosting the already vibrant and welcoming culture. And it was, allegedly, a big part of the reason players sought a Sunshine Coast contract. Could culture be the ingredient to get the proud club back to the finals?



Giants Netball warming up at the 2024 Team Girls Cup. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Giants have added experience and power to their ranks in 2024. Will it be enough to secure their maiden title? Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


Preview by:  Andrew Kennedy



Giants 2024 are packed with entertaining and exciting players, not least of all their marvellous new recruit Jodi-Ann Ward. The Jamaican goal defence is a spectacular addition to the back line, with her closing speed, elevation, and reading of the game poised to procure a stack of memorable orange intercepts. 

Australian Diamond Jamie-Lee Price continues to provide power and swagger in the midcourt, and young Sophie Dwyer is a consistent match-winner who can be relied upon to dominate, even when Jo Harten is rested. With Maddie Hay still injured, it will be fascinating to see what veteran specialist wing attacks Chelsea Pitman and Gina Crampton bring to this line as replacement players – at Team Girls Cup this new attacking group showed impressive passages of play and interesting changes of timing and rhythm.

Bringing even more star power is former Silver Fern wing defence Sam Winders, renowned for her tenacity, adaptability, and a brilliant attacking style of midcourt defence. She is ready-made for Giants culture, having previously been coached by Julie Fitzgerald at Magic in New Zealand. 


Sam Winders in action for Giants Netball. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Sam Winders is one of three big name signings for the Giants in 2024. Image: May Bailey | Custerpix Photography



 Giants’ main issues may be off court, with injury rehab and load management of key athletes continuing through the pre-season. Harten, exceptionally savvy and unstoppable when fit, decided to retire from international netball last year due to regular flare-ups of a knee complaint – she might have to be used sparingly and at the exact right moments, to keep her in form, especially for the run into finals. 

Julie Fitzgerald is not renowned for switching her line-up much during games, whilst the rotating substitution rule seems to have been employed more by other franchises. With a bench full of talent and experience, there is room to make gutsy decisions and allow reserves such as Amy Sligar and Erin O’Brien to make their impact. Or will there be a surprise, with Winders or Ward used as super-subs? 


X Factor

Boasting the most diverse composition ever seen in Super Netball, the flair and individual styles of English, Jamaican, and New Zealand players added to Australian structures could result in brilliance or disconnection. It’s crucial to let the athletes use their natural style and strengths while finding a unified game plan and being consistent. Julie Fitzgerald definitely has the experience and means to get her message across and the players are drawn to her out of respect.

Fitzgerald also has a lot to consider in managing her rotating shooting line, including tactics for the super shot – Giants’ fortunes swing dramatically, depending on the mojo of the day, and whether goalers under pressure know in the moment which option to take. The shooters need to demonstrate the strength of their four years working together to back each other up. In a tight competition Giants will be looking for big wins to bolster their goal differential, but will this entail too much risk?



2024 Queensland Firebirds. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Despite placing 4th at Team Girls Cup, Firebirds have a lot to prove in 2024. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


Preview by: Katrina Nissen



In a recent Code Sports interview, coach Bec Bulley promised ‘a more proactive approach’ to utilising her bench. We saw evidence of this during the Team Girls Cup, where the Firebirds’ fast unpredictable shooting combinations had teams spinning. Add to this, Donnell Wallam’s growing bag of tricks, and Bulley will be spoilt for choice in her shooting end.   

The Firebirds have arguably the most versatile midcourt in the league, with all four of their middies able to play two or three positions. With each midcourt athlete having a defensive or attacking strength, the Firebirds will have a pressure-applying flexibility that may change the course of a game. 

We also saw during TGC, their three rangy defenders getting equal amounts of court time and not missing a beat. Each defender has great aerial ability and a dogged, menacing hunger for the ball that should give teams pause before putting in those high balls. 



The Firebirds have two big challenges this season.  

Macy Gardner and Isabelle Shearer for the Queensland Firebirds. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Macy Gardner and Isabelle Shearer are two up-and-coming talents signed by the Firebirds in 2024. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

They have one of the most inexperienced lineups, with five athletes having less than two full seasons under their belts. While new athletes bring excitement and the aforementioned unpredictability, they are rarely a match for seasons of experience. Seasoned athletes are often more analytical and composed in high-stress, tight game situations, whereas new athletes often become frustrated or overwhelmed, leading to more errors in the form of turnovers or penalties. It will be interesting to see how Bulley handles this mental toughness side of the game. 

Penalties have been a contentious topic for the Firebirds for a number of seasons. In 2023, Remi Kamo and Kim Ravallion were the side’s greatest offenders, notching +180 and +140 penalties, respectively, across the season. Interestingly, Kamo’s highest penalty count came in Round 3 (26 v Swifts), and she tidied up toward the end of the season. However, at TGC she was consistently the Firebirds highest penalised athlete (relative to minutes played) with little return in the form of gains. To contend finals, the whole side, but especially Kamo as the starting goal keeper, will need to learn how to stay in play. 


X Factor

It may seem odd to say, but the Firebirds X Factor could be young Isabelle Shearer. During TGC pool rounds, the 20-year-old defender showed a dogged hunger for the ball, collecting five gains and only conceding an economical five penalties. During the final, she gave away 21 penalties but still had a good return of five gains for her side. Shearer is already showing confidence and talent, so with more game time and practised body control, the rangy youngster will go from strength to strength. 



Melbourne Mavericks bench at Team Girls Cup. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography

Melbourne Mavericks bench at Team Girls Cup. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography


Preview by: Ariane Virgona 



Under the strategic guidance of head coach Tracy Neville, the Melbourne Mavericks boast a formidable lineup across the court. Despite Sasha Glasgow’s devastating pre-season injury, Eleanor Cardwell and Gabby Sinclair’s dynamic style of play, flexibility across both positions and utilisation of the supershot will be a solid foundation for the team to build on. While no replacement athlete has been announced, we expect experienced Shimona Jok (nee Nelson) or young South African Rolene Streutker, to fill the position. Both offer such different styles of play, so it will be interesting to see who is signed. Streutker, with her long range shooting prowess, would seem to be the front-runner, despite lack of time at this level.

The midcourt, characterised by the speed and tenacity of Tayla Fraser, Molly Jovic, Maisie Nankivell, and Amy Parmenter (captain), provides the key to the teams’ competitive edge and how they grow together over the season will be interesting to see. At the defensive end, Olivia Lewis, and Kim Jenner, with their impressive timing and aerial abilities, ensure the Mavericks have the pace to match the competition’s moving circles. 



As a relatively young side, the Mavericks face the challenge of being in their first season together, as well as limited training time together as a full team. The squad notably includes some fringe players and those who have spent time on the bench, meaning limited on-court experience and potentially confidence to close in high-pressure moments. 

Additionally, at Team Girls’ Cup, Lauren Moore (defender) went down with what has been confirmed as an ACL injury and looks to be out for the foreseeable future, meaning another replacement player announcement is imminent, although who that will be is less certain. The loss of Glasgow and Moore further complicates matters, as incorporating such large changes to the team so close to the start of the season is less than ideal. 


Rolene Streutker lines up for a super shot while Tilly McDonnell defends. Image: May Bailey

Rolene Streutker is one of two likely candidates to lineup for the Melbourne Mavericks in 2024. Image: May Bailey | Clusterpix Photography



The composition of the team and its strategy have been carefully curated by Neville, with an inclusive and positive team culture already on show. As mentioned, given that some players have moved from clubs where they spent limited time on court or were utilised as impact players, many are eager for court time to showcase their unique abilities and flair. As such, the foundational team will seize the opportunity to set the tone for the future of the club. 

Despite the loss of Glasgow and now Moore, the team is fortified by their youthful and explosive energy and the collective vision to bring a ‘new chapter’ to the SSN competition. With Neville offering momentum to the side off the back of her premiership win with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, along with Nicole Richardsons’ analytic mindset and experience with the Australian Diamonds, we can expect the inaugural season for the Mavericks to be a sensational sight for fans to behold, regardless of the outcome.  

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